Outrun was created by the game developer/producer Yu Suzuki who joined Sega in 1983. I’ve read that Suzuki was inspired to create Outrun because he was a big fan of a 80’s movie The Cannonball Run which is a movie about an illegal across America car race with entrants who will do anything to win including playing dirty tricks on other competitors. However, regardless of this influence, it is known that the various stages in this game are not designed from American roadways, but are instead based off European highways found in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
The arcade version of Outrun was released in 1986 and was the first driving game that I can recall that offered a ‘force-feedback’ self-centering style steering wheel and a ‘deluxe’ sit-in cabinet with hydraulics. The only other game which offered a hydraulic cabinet at the time was Space Harrier — a sci-fi rails shooter that Suzuki was involved with as well — also released by Sega. The ‘deluxe’ cabinet moved based on your steering direction, as well as tilting up or down depending upon the way the road flowed. Outrun was also offered in 3 other arcade variations including upright cabinets and a ‘standard’ cabinet with no hydraulics.
The car driven throughout this game is a beautiful red convertible Ferrari Testarossa which is capable of a top speed of just under 295km/h. Your character is a male driver and seated beside you is a blonde haired woman. Your goal in this driving game is to drive well enough through the traffic while staying on the road and to reach the checkpoint at the end of the stage before the initial 75 second timer expires. Each time you reach a checkpoint, your timer extends and this allows you to continue playing on into the next stage. I believe some versions have adjusted the initial time to 80 seconds (via DIP switches) to make it somewhat easier to complete at least the first stage for first time players.